Jeff- just got caught up on this thread, as I just learned the II was finally out when I received my Squadron catalog. $99 at Squadron.
Per your observations:
why they choose to make some parts resin, as opposed to styrene; I asked the same question of them for the XXIII. It almost seems like they had to make it multimedia to justify the high price, as most of the resin pieces on the XXIII could (and should) have been styrene (e.g. the Balkongerat).
looks like the modeler will need to do some filling and sanding wherever the deck meets the hull. One thing that I'm curious about- do the left and right side parts match; that is, is the right bow plane, for example, the same shape and size as the left? One my biggest gripes was that the left and right side of the XXIII looked like they were made by two different companies with two different mold sets, and then the parts were thrown together in a box.
The scopes look good. I'd ditch the PE railings and use wire.
Lots of $$$ for the kit, but as it's the only game in town, either you spring for it, or forever hold your peace.
BTW, I read somewhere there's going to be a IID hull and tower insert made available as well...not sure if that's true or not, but a IID woul dbe pretty awesome as well.
and, Models by Mickster is great to deal with as well... (my 2 cents).